Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Beijing Awards List

I am a self-confessed Gymnastics Couch Potato who never got to do the sport outside of school and the backyard lessons my next door neighbour gave me. I learned everything I know about the Code of Points from Lyssenko of You Tube gloriousness. And I love women's gymnastics with a passion most of my fellow countrymen reserve for Australian Rules Football!

To tell the truth, I am comforted by the fact that I am starting this blog in the post-Beijing lull. This way there is no pressure to report on the almost constant flux and change of injury lists, medal prospects, team line-ups and event specialists. I have to say though; I religiously devoured some of my favorite gymnastics bloggers posts in the lead up to Beijing. They were my most informative link to the gymnastics world in that time. I live in Australia, where international gymnastics news is hard to come by (The wonderful Aust Gym Blog aside of course!).
I am not here to offer expert gymnastics commentary. There are so many bloggers out there far better qualified to the task of keeping us in the know gymnastics-wise (all of which I will add to my blog roll just as soon as I figure out how). I am here for some fun and to appease my passions for both gymnastics and list-making!
My first list will be about Beijing, though. My head is still too full of it, and no matter how much I read everybody’s wrap-ups, I am still thinking about it. So here is my first Couch Gymnast List.

The Couch Gymnast’s Beijing Awards!

1. The Why-oh-why Award goes to Chellsie Memmel. Listen to me, Gymnastics Gods. Hasn’t she suffered enough?!?! Couldn’t you just let her have this one little thing? Five or six days without a bloody injury? Just one teeny-tiny little Olympic week without you paying out on her? Chellsie's all but pull-out from these games was a freaking tragedy for herself, for her fans and for the US chances at Gold!.

2. The Weedy Pigeon Awards- You know the weedy, skinny, neglected looking pigeon in every flock? Well this year’s Weedy Pigeon is without a doubt, Anna Pavlova. Is it not bad enough that she and Fourth Place have a magnetic, fatal attraction? Do they really have to give her a zero on vault? Does she really have to fall victim to the gross overscoring of another gymnast (And this is coming from someone who adores Cheng Fei) in beam finals? Does her beautiful, beautiful gymnastics always have to fall prey to her unrelenting inconsistency?

3. The Please Don’t Run out of Steam Award is awarded in a tie between Ksenia Asafenyeva and Bridget Sloan. I just know they have so much more improvement to make in their already wonderful gymnastics and I want to see it happen before injury or age thwarts their chances.

4. The stuck in the Shadows Award- goes to one of my faves- the ever-brilliant Beth Tweddle. While all that unbelievable controversy was going on in the uneven bars finals, Bethy unleashed her phenomenally original and exciting bars routine (yes I know she doesn’t have the other girls’ perfect form, but you have to admire her spectacular power) with its ridiculously high difficulty and it went barely noticed in the face of all THE DRAMA. After it, when she threw back her head, groaned, rolled her eyes and grinned when she saw her fourth placing I realised why I have always loved her. She is such a great sport and a very, very real gymnast. I wish she’d got a medal because i don't think she can last another quad.

5. Most Improved Form Awards- It’s gotta go to Steliana Nistor. I mean, I know she can still be as sloppy as hell at times, but if you go back and look at that (yes, I agree it was totally overscored) silver medal effort of bent legs and flexed feet in the Stuttgart AA finals, you’ve gotta appreciate her effort since.

6. Failed to Deliver Award- will be shared between the two biggest flash in the pans of this quad- Vanessa Ferrari and Jade Barbosa. While I’m not much of a Vanessa fan, I love Barbosa. I was sad to see both of them struggle. Ferrari seems to have lost her initial brilliance and Jade never seemed to get where she promised to be heading.

7. The They Should Really go out and Drown their Sorrows Together Now- Awarded to Alicia Sacramone and Fabian Hambeuchen. After their performances, a long night propped up at the bar with pints of lager and whiskey chasers are called for. They both could use a drink.
And who knows? Anything could happen. A-Sac and F-Ham would have cute little ginger-haired children who could become gymnasts and make up for their own (minor) failures a-la-Valeri!

8. The Wish You Were Here Award- Oh I wish Elsa Garcia had been there. I know she wasn’t really any kind of medal hope, but she is such a sweet, talented gymnast from a country we never see much of, I really wanted her there.

9. There will never be another Award- While there is still a fair bit of personality out there in the form of Cheng Fei, Alicia Sacramone, Steli Nistor and Chusovitina, I still miss Queen Khorky. There is no one like her for keeping things interesting.

10. The What The? Award goes to Yang Wei’s weird face pulling when he won all-around. Can anyone explain?

This isn't even the face I mean. I was referring to the weird, hand thing he was doing around his face like big moose ears when he first knew he won, but I couldn't find a pic. This one is suitably daft and too.

11. Cute-as-a-button Awards- She had a lot of competition from those little Chinese cuties, but even as she ages, Ksenia Semenova just gets more adorable!

12. What Should-have-been Award- Maybe it is because I am Australian that I pick this one, but Lauren Mitchell should have been in those beam finals. It’s no one’s fault but her own nerves that she didn’t, but it makes me very sad that she missed out on showing her incredibly impressive stuff.

13. Tear-To-The-Eye Award- goes to…. oh lord there were so many contenders. Nastia’s AA win. Chengs vault splat. Shawns last-minute gold. Dasha’s ankle injury in the prelims. Alicia’s obvious devastation in Team’s, but the moment that got this hard old lady a-weeping was when Cheng Fei went to Sandra Izbasa after her awesome floor routine and seemed to be giving her the most heartfelt congratulatory hug and speech. I haven’t seen anything that lovely since Isabelle Severino congratulated L.Mitchell in the worlds beam finals. But this one was even sweeter because Cheng was ceding her crown with such graciousness.

14. The Most Deserving Award- in my opinion goes to Nastia Liukin. I was stupid enough to think Shawn had it over her. And though I do genuinely like Shawn’s precision and sheer talent, I was stunned and so, so pleased when Nastia took it out. Never mind all the drama and build up and trumped-up rivalry before the Olympiccs, Nastia made it hers that night.

15. The Yes! Award- goes to Cheng Fei’s little victory fist clench at the end of the floor routine that said gold was theirs. I was sad for the US, but it was pretty awesome to see Fei claim that gold with that one little gesture!

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    I'm writing to you because I run a site that links to other gymnastics sites called Links to Gymnastics (http://www.linkstogymnastics.com) The goal of my site is to make it easier for gymnastics fans to find gymnastics sites.

    I found your blog when I was searching the web for gymnastics and wanted to ask you if you'd like a link to your site from Links to Gymnastics.

    Either way I wish you all the best!

    Sorry for having to use a comment to send the message along. (Feel free to delete it) but I did not know any other way to send the message.

    If you've gotten a message like this I apologize for the duplication. The internet is a pretty big place and hard to keep track of sometimes.

    David F.P.
    davegymnastics at yahoo.com